The more assets you have, often, the more complex your divorce. If you and your spouse own a business, it is likely your most valuable marital asset, and you can expect it to become the centerpiece of the property division process.
The question is, what will become of the family business? Here are three options to consider:
The most obvious course of action is to put your business up for sale. You and your soon-to-be-ex can divide the profits and go on with your lives. To arrive at an appropriate selling price, you must hire a business appraiser to perform a valuation. Valuing your business will be an expensive undertaking, but you can make it less so by agreeing to hire only one appraiser and splitting the cost.
2. Buy out your spouse
Perhaps your spouse is not as heavily invested in the business as you are, at least from an emotional standpoint. Although you both have contributed to building the business and making it a success, you may handle most of the day-to-day responsibilities. If you decide on a buyout, you will again need a valuation. After establishing the selling price, you need funds to close the deal. If funds are not available, you may have to give up another asset of equal value.
3. Continue as business partners
Another option is to go on as you have been. If you and your spouse believe you can continue as business partners after the divorce is final, this may be the best way to resolve the matter. You will not need a costly valuation, and you will be able to keep your respective shares of the company.
Deciding the fate of a family business can generate many kinds of emotions, including frustration, and a fair amount of friction. Rely on the expertise of professionals to help you through. In addition to the possibility of a business appraiser, you will need an attorney and an accountant. Divorce is a highly emotional experience all by itself. You can lessen the stress when you engage the services of experts to assist in the disposition of your family business.